Tag Archives: Cordwood Construction

Buy a Cordwood Home?

Would you consider buying a cordwood home?  I have known of several dozen cordwood homes that have “come on the market” in the past ten years.   What would encourage you to buy?  What would be a deal breaker? Here is a home in British Columbia that came for sale and the asking price was under half a million dollars.  Cordwood for Sale BC 1With half an acre, 1800 sq. ft. and western red cedar as the cordwood infill, this beauty sold as soon as it hit the market.  Cordwood for Sale BC 2

Cordwood for Sale BC 3Lots of wood, but oh, so well done.  Personally, I love a wood ceiling. Cordwood for Sale BC 4Cordwood for Sale BC 6Well placed cordwood log ends, with clean mortar joints,  make for very attractive, complimentary walls. Cordwood for Sale Comox BC5Cordwood for Sale Comox BC7Cordwood for Sale Comox BC8The specific features: 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, timber frame & cordwood; vaulted ceilings, a large open kitchen, a bright Sunroom & a cozy fireplace. The kitchen is large & open with an eating area. The roof was replaced a few years ago with light weight metal.Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9Cordwood for Sale Comox BC10Most cordwood homes that do sell quickly sell because of the attention to detail and the quality of the build.  The doors, windows, posts, roof, mortar, cabinets, closets, interior fixtures all play an important role in the attractiveness of the home.

This cordwood home sold very quickly.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever-expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25 and the DVD is available for an immediate download! 

 Online Cordwood Bookstore

 

 

Cordwood in the South

Can I build cordwood in a hot, humid climate?  Here are some fine examples of cordwood in the South.  Obviously, if best practices are used, cordwood can be very successful in warm, moist climes.Sam Felts round cordwood home in Georgia interior 3 Sam Felt and Bill talking about cordwood building in the center part of the home’s inner circle.  This is a very beautiful and dramatic building.  The arches were 1″ dimensional lumber, bent to make a frame and then pulled off once the mortar hardened.  Sam Felts Adel, Georgia with logo Sam Felt’s home in Adel, Georgia.   It is made of cypress and has arched doorways created by the Godfather of Cordwood,  Jack Henstridge.

Sam Felts son's cordwood home in Geroga small pixels with logoAbove is Renyard’s cypress cordwood home in Adel, Georgia. Rockmart, GA  built in the late 70's with logo.jpgTom and Ann’s post and beam framed beauty, in Rockmart, Georgia.  This one has a large stone fireplace and is built on an older stone barn foundation.  It has the wrap around porch that makes for good neighborly living.  dirt under my nails NC 3 with logo.jpgMaria & Toby built this masterpiece in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. It is a 12 sided, post framed cordwood with a living roof. dirt under my nails NC 8.jpgThe beams make a handy place to dry the garden produce.

Luke and Amy Metzger  Spartanburg, SC j 2012.jpg Spartanburg, South Carolina is graced with this post framed cordwood with a full walk-out basement.  The interior is also very attractive.  This home sold, when the family moved to Colorado, to the first person who looked at it (for the asking price!) The real estate agent said it was because of the quality of the build. Luke and Amy Metzger Spartanburg, SC g 2012a(Below) Kimberly built this 600 square foot cabin in western South Carolina for $6,000.  The majority of the materials came from the property.Kimberly Rak South Carolina 4.jpg

The Cookie House (built in 1931) in Edgewater, Florida is a good example of how long cordwood will last in the south. Cordwood in Florida Cookie House 1930s.jpgWilburton, Oklahoma is so hot in the summer, that it’s hard to do heavy physical labor in the heat of the noonday sun.   This was built by a veteran on a military reserve and sold quickly when he moved to Hawaii to be with his grandchildren.  It is made of Eastern Red Cedar.  Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama with logo.jpgSuffice it is to say that if a rot-resistant wood is used, along with a slow setting mortar, within a post and beam framework, cordwood can be successfully built in many climates.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever-expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25.

Cordwood Cookie House: Florida

The Florida Cookie House was built in 1931 by John Bass, Jr. for the Biological Laboratory and Zoological Research Supply Company.  The informational sign (below) tells of the immigrants to Wisconsin who built these kind of structures.  It’s called the Cookie House because the white mortar with the brown, round log faces resemble a cookie on a plate.

Cordwood in Florida Cookie House 1930s.jpgKnown as “stovewood” or “stackwall” there is a Stovewood home and chicken coop at Old World Wisconsin.  It’s purpose is to preserve the history of cordwood in the Badger State.Cordwood in Florida Cookie House 1930sA.jpg

Below, the Cookie House under renovation.

Florida cordwood from Linda Stevenson Here is a great little historic cordwood building in Florida dating from the late 30s. It has been relocated to a park in Charlotte County Florida..jpg

Cookie house 3

A black wrought-iron fence was erected to keep people away during renovation.  It is now a permanent fixture of the site along with the signage. Cookie house 2The interior shelving shows off some of the “finds.”

How the new sign looks today.

Cookie house 4

More cordwood in Florida.  Below is the Little Cordwood House at the Flywheeler Swap Meet.  This is part of a Historical Village in Fort Meade, Florida.

Florida cordwood Little Cordwood House Fort Meade, Florida Flywheeler Swap Meet a Historical Village Fort Meade FL.jpg

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their ever-expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVD label cover yellow

Here is a jpeg of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover available at http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

 

 

Alaska: The Last Frontier Cordwood Cabin

Shane & Kelli Kilcher of the Discovery series Alaska: The Last Frontier have built a beautiful cordwood cabin on their land near Homer, Alaska.  The Discovery Channel has been documenting their journey.  Shane & Kelli bought my book (Cordwood Construction Best Practices) and stayed in contact via email and text throughout the building process.  We answered questions as they were building on site. Here are a few photos they sent of their progress.  That’s the film crew in the background.

Shane and Kelli Kilcher with logo cropped

Kelli recently wrote on her Facebook page  “This guy (Richard Flatau) literally wrote the book on cordwood building and has been a great help with all our questions!”  They also purchased the Cordwood Workshop DVD, which is a great way to prepare for building your first walls.  Online Cordwood Bookstore

Continue Reading as the adventure of Shane and Kelli’s continues in Homer, Alaska.   Cordwood Construction

Round & Rectangle Cordwood: Best of both worlds

Who doesn’t love round?  Everyone right.  But there comes a time when folks who have been living in round (or nearly round) start to complain about the idiosyncrasies. Just recently a friend who lives in one of the most beautiful 16 sided cordwood homes ever, said to me.  “Rich, if I had it to do over, I would build a rectangle.  Every time I have to make a cut for roofing, flooring, cabinetry it has to be 11 degrees.   It takes forever to do the work.”

However, combining round and rectangle cordwood styles provides the best of both worlds.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg3.jpg

Don Gerdes an engineer from Reedsburg, Wisconsin built a post framed “curved front” attached to a rectangle.  Here are some pictures of his beautiful creation.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Cathy Hubbart and Don Gerdes in 2006.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg2The interior shows off Don’s Brilliant Bottles invention (which light up at night) and its curved walls.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg10.jpg

Brilliant bottles are made ahead of time as a single unit to mortar into the wall.  They boast a changeable LED light in the middle.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg11.jpgPlowing snow is easier with a straight line.Don Gerdes Reedsburg13.jpg

The workshop garage doors make it easily accessible.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg5.jpg

Hanging cabinets on straight walls is a breeze.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg4.jpg

From curved to rectangle is a smooth transition.

Rairlee and James Frame it firstOctagon with a “square” back room.  Rainless’ B and B in the Adirondacks.

Sebastien Demers 10Post framed, curved front with a rectangle on the back, a masonry heater and two stories high by Sebastien Demers. Sebastien Demers 12 build a modelA 3D model with a round front and   a rectangle on the backside by Sebastien Demers of Quebec.

Round, Rectangle, Octagon, or 16 sided?

When deciding which style of cordwood to build it is of the utmost importance to know that every cordwood author recommends building within a post framework.  The reasons are very simple:  1.  The roof can be built before the cordwood is finished.  2.  With the roof on, the materials stay dry and so do the builders.  3.  The cordwood wall building can be completed in manageable sections.  4.  You can cover the walls that remain unfinished and continue interior work. 5.  It makes the building inspector very happy.

Even if one decides to “go round,” a framework can be hidden in the middle of the wall using wraparound cordwood. Why would anyone build a hidden framework within the structure?  To get code approval, to make certain the roof is going to be properly supported and to allow for the use of a “slower setting mortar” which reduces mortar cracking and log loosening.

16 sided cordwood creates a large number of 11-degree cuts:   The roof sheeting, the roofing material (metal or shingles) and the many valleys that accompany 16 sides.  Then the interior ceiling the interior flooring and the interior cabinetry all require angle cuts.  The cordwood itself will end up having small, tight mortar joints on the inside and larger ones on the outside.

If you decide to build an 8 sided octagon, keep in mind that you will need to re-engineer the structural parts (think posts and rafters) if you want to go larger than 300 sq. ft.  One way to get the curved and the straight to work together is to build a half round, half rectangle home.  

Bottom line, the choice is yours.  If you plan to build 16-sided cordwood, you can do yourself a favor by checking out the successful 17-page building permit application for a 16 sided cordwood home in SE Minnesota.  The approved permit is, in its entirety, in the book Cordwood and the Code: A Building Permit Guide.   It is meant to be copied and pasted and modified for your local building codes.  BN new 2 with logo.jpgThis beautiful round cordwood guest cottage,  by Bruce Kilgore and Nancy Dow has a post and beam framework hidden in the middle to support the roof. BN new wraparounds with logo.jpg

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Vide,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3 small pixels A picture of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover available at http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

 

Cordwood Books & Videos

Which one? If I could only buy one cordwood book, which one should it be?  This question pops up frequently as folks look to find one book that gives all the answers. Cordwood is evolving.  What worked 20 years ago has changed.  So, get a book from a reliable author and enjoy the latest information.  It may be in your best interest to get a couple.  Prices and ordering information at Online Cordwood Bookstore

Cordwood Shed Plans with frame.jpg

Many of these are available as ebooks in PDF format.  You can print off the pages you need to take to your building site (formulas, mixes, drawings) and keep the rest safe.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices 1200 x 1600

The Cordwood Workshop Video/DVD is like taking a workshop in your own home. Cordwood Workshop DVD 3 small pixels

 

The Cordwood Workshop Video is also available as a DVD and a digital download.

House Plan with border

House plans come with the floor plan for my 30′ x 40′ cordwood home, but also shows options for other cordwood styles.

Cliff Shockey Cover 2007

The double wall technique was invented by Cliff Shockey.  He continues to build and advise cordwood neophytes.

CoCoCo15 Papers.jpg

The Cordwood Conference Papers are a wealth of information and ideas.

CCC11 with frame.jpg

CoCoCo 2005 cover.jpg

Rob Roy has revised Cordwood Building with lots of new information and suggestions.

Cordwood Building 2016.jpg

Timber framing made easy with mechanical fasteners.

Timber Framing

If you need to have your cordwood building code approved, here is the book that has all the latest testing on cordwood.

Cordwood and the Code cover bleed to edge.jpg

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:   Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3 small pixels

For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Below is the 30 item Video menu. 

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

Cordwood Greenhouse in Montana

Hanna fell in love with Montana, nature, gardening and cordwood.  She built a gorgeous cordwood greenhouse/shed and filled it with plants and gardening tools.hanna-montana-3 Then she planted a beautiful garden of flowers and vegetables around the shed. hanna-montana-2Finally, she added a deer fence to protect the lovely produce and beautiful plants.hanna-montana-1

greenhouse-hanna-montana-2-800-x-600During construction, she repurposed windows for maximum light.  hannah-montanss-greenhouse-08a-800-x-600A few stained glass windows add a nice touch to the natural “feel” of the shed. Hanna wrote a blog about her shed and shared it with the website I helped moderate at http://www.daycreek.com   We are hoping she will update her blog and let us know how things are progressing.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop DVD will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

The 30 detailed menu items from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2Thank you for your kind attention to Cordwood Construction.   If you would like more information, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

Cordwood in Oklahoma is OK

At the edge of Ouachita Forest (ten miles south of Wilburton, OK), is a small community of homes in a serene and quiet treed area called the United Spanish War Veterans Colony.  About 100 veterans and their families live here.  Alan & Rebecca acquired a three-quarter-acre lot and built a 16 sided cordwood home.  It has an earthen floor, and a living roof planted with sedum.  Alan states,  “It is so comfortable to live in. It is only 800 square feet (one bedroom, 1 & 1/2 baths) including the pop out sun room on the south side, but is totally adequate for two retired folks.”

Alan & Rebecca's 16 sided cordwood home-made of 12" eastern red cedar.

Alan & Rebecca’s 16 sided cordwood home-made of 12″ red cedar.

The ceiling is Douglas fir and the structure is all locally milled pine.   Red cedar was used for the 12″ thick cordwood walls.  The windows are energy efficient.
They added a sunroom on the south side for solar gain in the winter.  For those who are wondering about building cordwood in a hot, humid climate, this will help answer your questions. 

A Hearthstone free-standing stove takes care of all their heating requirements.  Easter red cedar has beautiful patterning.

A Hearthstone free standing stove takes care of all their heating requirements. Easter red cedar has beautiful patterning.

Mortars:  They used different types of cordwood mortars, from Lime Putty (which they found too time-consuming and difficult) to Paper Enhanced Mortar (which they liked) to cob (which they loved).

The red cedar is a weed tree in the southern middle portion of the country and it is naturally resistant to insects.

The red cedar is a weed tree in the south-central portion of the country and it is naturally resistant to insects and rot.

alan-barreca-oklahoma-1The home is relatively tiny (800 sq. ft.) and easy to heat and cool. alan-rebecca-8-se-oklahama-with-logoThey also experimented with an earthen floor.  They are pleased with it.  It is made of local clay and sand with a Bioshield finish.Alan & Rebecca 6 SE Oklahama small pixels

Alan used Vasari Lime Wash to “even out” the color of the different mortars with which they experimented.  Notice the gray and white color variation on the top of the wall.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (updated 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

 

Cordwood Construction Best Practices 200 x 259 pixels Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices thumbnailCordwood Workshop DVD 3 small pixels

For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

 

 

Cordwood Cabin (with 24″ thick walls) is energy efficient & fortress-like (revisited)

Editor’s Note:  This post has consistently been among the Top 5 most popular (on my site) and I have added new photos and new details to the original.  

Adam & Erica Konopka and their children started building a Cordwood Cabin near the shores of Lake Michigan this past summer.
The cabin has 24″ thick walls with foam insulation in the center cavity.Adam 8 big strong cordwood men

Continue reading about how Erica & Adam built their cordwood cabin with their children and in-laws helping.  Read the rest of the article at Cordwood Construction

 

 

 

 

Cordwood Sauna in Sweden (Part 2)

Pelle Henriksson has added these wonderful pictures of his backyard sauna in Sweden. The foundation (ring beam), framing (post & beam) and cordwood infill are very well done using “best practices” throughout.  Pelle recently uploaded a video about his sauna.  It is in Swedish, but you can enjoy pictures of the finished product.  Pelle’s Cordwood Sauna Videopelle-kubbhausta-8

Continue reading at our new Blogsite:

https://cordwoodconstruction.org/cordwood-sauna-in-sweden-part-2